PAR­TIES THAT MAT­TER

Hindustan Times (Amritsar) - - Hthimachalppollpprimer -

CON­GRESS

The Con­gress has been in power for most of the time in the hill state.

The party formed the govern­ment for the first time with 27 leg­is­la­tors in 1952 when there was ter­ri­to­rial coun­cil. YS Par­mar was the first chief min­is­ter. Par­mar led the govern­ment with 45 leg­is­la­tors in 1963 and again when the Vid­han Sabha was con­sti­tuted that year.

The Con­gress was back in power in 1967 and 1977. Thakur Ram Lal led the Con­gress back to power in 1980 but in 1983, the Con­gress high com­mand sent Virb­hadra Singh, a Union min­is­ter, to take charge in the state. His win­ning streak con­tin­ued till 1989. He was check­mated by Shanta Ku­mar but the govern­ment did not last its term. Virb­hadra ruled the state from 1993-98. The Con­gress rode on the anti-in­cum­bency fac­tor to re­turn to power in 2012. But this time Virb­hadra re­mained busy fight­ing cor­rup­tion cases and gov­er­nance took a beat­ing. The cases and de­te­ri­o­rat­ing law and or­der gave the op­po­si­tion am­mu­ni­tion.

BJP

Rid­ing high on Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi’s charisma and striv­ing hard to re­gain power, the party has not pro­jected any chief min­is­te­rial face. The BJP has been on a pub­lic­ity over­drive in Hi­machal for a year, launch­ing a se­ries of drives to bol­ster its cam­paign in the hill state. Scores of cen­tral lead­ers, in­clud­ing Modi and party chief Amit Shah, are tak­ing keen in­ter­est in the cam­paign and have man­aged to keep fac­tion­al­ism at bay. The party has a strong base in lower Hi­machal.

In 1998, Prem Ku­mar Dhu­mal formed the govern­ment with the help of Sukh Ram’s Hi­machal Vikas Con­gress and later made in­roads in Con­gress strongholds, in­clud­ing the ap­ple-grow­ing belt. Dhu­mal formed the govern­ment in 2008 but in­fight­ing led to de­feat in 2012. This time, the party has de­cided not to project a CM can­di­date and fo­cus­ing on win­ning. It has been woo­ing Sched­uled Castes. The RSS cadres in Hi­machal have al­ready fanned out to bol­ster the BJP cam­paign

LEFT

The pres­ence of Left par­ties in the as­sem­bly has been neg­li­gi­ble. Tarac­hand from Jogin­der­na­gar was the first CPI leader to make it to the Vid­han Sabha in 1963. Two CPI lead­ers Balak Ram and Paras Ram were elected in 1967. Tulsi Ram of the CPM won from Balh in 1972. CPM can­di­date Rakesh Singha won the Shimla seat in 1993 by 150 votes, de­feat­ing Harb­ha­jan Singh Bha­jji.

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